The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund is giving an update on its investment plans at an event in Dublin this morning. The Fund was established from the remnants of the Irish Pension Reserve Fund. 

Its Director, Eugene O'Callaghan, explains that the fund is €7.4 billion in size and has a mandate to invest on a commercial basis to support economic activity in Ireland while making money for the Exchequer. "We have a double bottom line. We have to make a financial return and have an economic impact at the same time," Mr O'Callaghan says. He describes its mandate as challenging in that it had to identify projects that would not get funding in their own right. "We have huge flexibility in that we can invest over a long time frame and the idea of having a public partner is very attractive to companies and projects," he says.

Mr O'Callaghan explains that the fund had already made a number of investments under the NPRF banner in the lead up launch of the ISIF. "We've invested in infrastructure and SMEs and venture capital projects. We're developing our own transaction pipeline and we've begun to see significant interest from potential investments across a wide range of sectors in the economy - food, energy, technology based projects," he states.

Eugene O'Callaghan says the Fund had already more than matched its own investments with private sector money and it would continue to follow this model. He adds that he believes the ISIF had its place in that much of the investment in the market place is constrained. "Banks are subject to capital adequacy regulations. Private equity funds are constrained by what's in their prospectus type documentation. We have huge flexibility and we can invest over a long time. There's plenty of opportunity to differentiate in that regard."

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MORNING BRIEFS - Supermarket giant Tesco has reported its worse annual loss in its near 100 year history. The group made a pretax loss of £6.38 billion in the year to the end of February after writing down the value of its stores by £4.7 billion. Irish like-for-like sales volumes were down 6.3% amid intense competition from discounters and SuperValu which recently overtook Tesco as the biggest grocery retailer here.

***  It was bought at the height of the property boom for nearly €400m by Sean Dunne, but today the site on which the old Jurys and Berkley Court Hotels in Ballsbridge are situated will go on the market. It is expected to fetch somewhere between €120-150m and the sale is being handled by Savills and the UK commercial property advisers Eastdil Secured. The site has planning permission, which is valid until the end of 2021, for a substantial urban quarter with 490 apartments, a 152 room hotel and 77,000 square feet of retail and commercial space. 

*** Eircom and Huawei are partnering up for the telecom provider's planned rollout of fibre to the home. The initial contract - which is worth €10m - will see Huawei provide equipment that will support broadband speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.
Eircom plans to roll out the service to 16 areas by August.

*** Generic drug maker Mylan has rejected a $40 billion takeover approach from Israeli rival Teva. Combining the two would create a generic drug giant with annual revenues of about $30 billion and a market capitalisation of about $100 billion. Mylan itself made a €30 billion dollar bid to takeover Dublin-based Perrigo in recent weeks.